Weighing the Allegations against Brett Kavanaugh

Do not count me among those who would minimize this alleged assault. I went to a high school that had more than its share of drunken parties, and my classmates could do crazy and stupid things, but an act like this was beyond the pale. This isn’t “boys will be boys.” Actions have consequences, and it’s hardly unjust to tell a person that if he mistreated another human being like this — even a long time ago — he has to remain “merely” a judge on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.

.. Given the totality of the evidence, I believe it is more likely than not that Bill Clinton committed rape and sexual harassment. I believe it is more likely than not that Donald Trump has committed sexual assault. I believe it is more likely than not that Roy Moore engaged in sexual misconduct with underage girls. But the evidence against Kavanaugh falls far short of the evidence arrayed against each of these men.

.. “The notes say four boys were involved, a discrepancy that Ford says was an error on the therapist’s part. Ford said there were four boys at the party but only two in the room.” Nor do the notes mention Kavanaugh’s name, even though her husband says Ford named Kavanaugh in the sessions.

Those are important discrepancies, and if six years ago she told the therapist four men and says two men now, that suggests that her memory of the event may be suspect.

.. Finally, there are no other allegations of sexual misconduct against Kavanaugh. If there’s one thing we’ve seen time and again, it’s that one allegation often triggers a cascade of additional claims. There seem to be precious few men who engage in serious sexual misconduct just once.

Boys Will Be Supreme Court Justices

Kavanaugh’s accuser is credible. Will it matter?

.. Speaking to The Washington Post, she produced notes from a therapist she saw in 2012, whom she’d told about being attacked by students “from an elitist boys’ school” who grew up to become “high-ranking members of society in Washington.” According to her husband, that year she identified Kavanaugh to him by name. When Kavanaugh appeared on a shortlist of potential Supreme Court picks — but before his nomination had been announced — Blasey contacted both The Post and her member of Congress, Anna G. Eshoo of California. By all indications, she wanted to head his nomination off without being forced into the spotlight.

.. Blasey passed a polygraph administered by a former F.B.I. agent. The utility of polygraphs is dubious, but her willingness to take one is evidence of her sincerity. According to Axios, some Republicans wanted to call on Blasey to testify publicly, assuming she’d decline.

.. Judge, who wrote a memoir of his teenage alcoholism, has veered between denying the incident and saying he doesn’t recall it.

.. it’s a sign of how credible Blasey seems that, since this story broke, much of the public debate has been less about whether her accusations are true than whether they are relevant.

.. Ari Fleischer pondered the weight of high school misbehavior. “Should that deny us chances later in life?” he asked. “Even for Supreme Court job, a presidency of the United States, or you name it?”

.. Such arguments would be more convincing if people on the right weren’t so selective in their indulgence. Donald Trump called for the death penalty for the Central Park 5, who were 14 to 16 years old when they were arrested. (They’ve since been proven innocent.) Children are regularly put on sex offender registries, sometimes for their entire lives, for conduct less serious than what Kavanaugh is accused of.

In a sour irony, some legal experts think Kavanaugh’s confirmation could imperil Miller v. Alabama, a 2012 decision banning life sentences without parole for most teenage convicts.

We need to determine, as best we can, if he’s lying now.

.. Senators should also demand that Kavanaugh’s old friend Judge, who grew up to become a right-wing writer, testify, though Kavanaugh would surely prefer other character witnesses.

(“Oh for the days when President George W. Bush gave his wife, Laura, a loving but firm pat on the backside in public,” Judge once wrote. “The man knew who was boss.”)

.. There is a small, dark part of me that thinks it would be fitting if Republicans shove Kavanaugh through despite the allegations against him. Anyone Trump nominates is going to threaten Roe v. Wade. Kavanaugh would at least make plain the power dynamics behind forced pregnancy. We would lose Roe because

  • a president who boasted of sexual assault,
  • elected against the wishes of the majority of female voters,
  • was able to give a lifetime Supreme Court appointment to an ex-frat boy credibly accused of attempted rape.

.. Kavanaugh, helped by an all-male Republican caucus on the Judiciary Committee, would join Clarence Thomas, whose confirmation hearing helped make the phrase “sexual harassment” a household term.

They and three other men would likely vote against the court’s three women.

The brute imposition of patriarchy would be undeniable.

.. “If somebody can be brought down by accusations like this, then you, me, every man certainly should be worried.” If the Kavanaugh nomination goes forward, it’s because Trump and his allies believe that a certain class of men accused of sexual assault deserve impunity.

Donald Trump’s Response to John McCain’s Death Reminds Us Just How Petty He Is

the enmity between the two men was long-standing and bitter. After the Helsinki summit, earlier this year, McCain called Trump’s joint press conference with Vladimir Putin “one of the most disgraceful performances by an American President in memory.” If, after all this acrimony, Trump had said something positive about McCain, it would have rung hollow.

But messing with the flag that flies above the White House was different. The flag represents the United States and the office of the Presidency, not Trump personally. After the death of a prominent U.S. politician, such as a former President or prominent senator, it is standard practice for the sitting President to issue a proclamation ordering the flag to be lowered to half-staff until the burial, which, in this case, will be next Sunday.

Whatever one thinks of McCain’s political views, his record—five and a half years in a Vietnamese prisoner-of-war camp, thirty-one years in the Senate, and two Presidential bids—surely merited such an honor. As Mark Knoller, of CBS News, noted on Monday morning, Trump failed to order the proclamation. Evidently, there is no limit to his smallness.

The outcry was immediate and broad-based, and, in this instance, Trump backed down.

.. Who persuaded Trump to change course? Was there a rebellion in the West Wing? The initial reports about the reversal didn’t say. But it was clear that the last thing the White House needs right now is another public-relations disaster. Although McCain’s death knocked the saga of Michael Cohen’s guilty plea off the front pages, at least temporarily, the past week was a disaster for the White House, and a reminder that Trump’s pettiness is only exceeded by his deceitfulness. Is there anybody in the entire country who now believes anything he says about the payments to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal that Cohen helped orchestrate?

.. For habitual liars, telling untruths is “partly practice and partly habit,” William Hazlitt once wrote. “It requires an effort in them to speak truth.” Trump seldom makes the exertion.

.. Some of Trump’s defenders are complaining that the Feds, having failed to nail the President on the charge of conspiring with Russia to influence the 2016 election, are now “trying to Al Capone the President”—that is, get him on a technicality. Others in the Trump camp are falling back on the legal argument that a sitting President can’t be indicted, or that Hillary Clinton’s campaign also violated campaign laws. But, apart from Trump himself, virtually nobody seems to be claiming that he didn’t direct the payoffs.

.. Here’s a quick reminder of the rap sheet. Turning a blind eye to money laundering at his New Jersey casinos. Operating a bogus university that bilked middle-income seniors out of their retirement savings. Stiffing his suppliers as a matter of course. Selling condos to Russians and other rich foreigners who may well have been looking to launder hot money. Entering franchising deals with Eastern European oligarchs and other shady characters. For decades, Trump has run roughshod over laws and regulations.

To protect himself from whistle-blowers, financial cops, and plaintiffs, Trump relied on nondisclosure agreements, lax enforcement, and his reputation for uncompromising litigiousness.

Tiger Woods doesn’t take the bait when asked about his relationship with Trump

Tiger Woods has always been one of the most vanilla interviews in sports. He’ll give plenty of insight into his game, talk about that birdie on the 8th hole, how true the putts are rolling, but that’s really about it. He rarely veers off course by offering the public a glimpse into his personal life.

So, when asked Sunday about his “friendly” relationship with Donald Trump in light of the president’s policies on immigration and his sparring with athletes like LeBron James, Woods’s answer doesn’t come as much of a surprise.

It was pure Tiger:

‘He’s the president of the United States. You have to respect the office. No matter who is in the office, you may like, dislike personality or the politics, but we all must respect the office.’

Woods didn’t offer much in regard to the extent of their friendship, either.

“I’ve known Donald for a number of years,’’ he said following the final round of the Northern Trust NTRS, +1.95% tournament in New Jersey. “We’ve played golf together. We’ve had dinner together. I’ve known him pre-presidency and obviously during his presidency.’’

What does Trump think of how Woods handled the question?

The Fake News Media worked hard to get Tiger Woods to say something that he didn’t want to say. Tiger wouldn’t play the game – he is very smart. More importantly, he is playing great golf again!

Woods has reportedly golfed with Trump on multiple occasions, including after he was elected in 2016 and again last year at Thanksgiving with pro golfers Dustin Johnson and Brad Faxon. Woods has also hit the links with Presidents Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush and Barack Obama.